As Hillary Mulls 2016, Loyalists Lay Groundwork
Politico reports on behind-the-scenes 'shadow campaign'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2014 1:33 PM CST
In this Dec. 6, 2013 file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(Newser) – Is Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016? In public, she still says she hasn't decided, but in private, it's a different story. Politico offers an extensive look at the "shadow campaign" developing behind the scenes, with both her inner circle and a number of outside supporters advising her. The most significant recent development: Last summer, she met with the founder of a Democratic consulting firm, along with a field organizer and a strategist from the group, to hear a "detailed" and "numbers-driven" presentation on the necessary preparation for a presidential run. Politico calls it "the only formal 2016-related presentation" she's yet been given from anyone not in her inner circle, but her response—she didn't say much during the meeting—offers no hint of her ultimate decision.

Much of the groundwork for a potential run is already being laid, often by outside groups including super PACs; Politico describes it—after talking to more than two dozen sources—as "a virtual campaign in waiting." But some of those closest to Clinton think she'd be better off not running; they figure she can enjoy her personal life while still wielding influence—and not risk ending her career on a negative note. (Two people whose opinions will matter quite a bit to Hillary? Chelsea and Bill, and it's not clear what either of them think yet.) Plus, there's the real possibility—as has happened in the past—that competing super PACs could end up fighting each other, ultimately hurting Clinton's message. But Time points out one more clue that we're closer to a decision: Clinton's 2008 campaign rented its email list to Ready for Hillary, meaning a recent email from the super PAC went out from Click for much more from Politico's full piece.